If cars are to drive on their own in the future, they will need highly accurate digital maps and know precisely where they are on those maps.
According to Bosch, this is what the company’s road signature offers: using information from radar and video sensors and vehicle motion data augment standard navigation maps with additional layers for vehicle localisation and control. These additional layers are compatible with typical map formats. Data is currently being generated to set up the road signature.
Beginning 2023, vehicles will feature the signature along with an initial number of services. The company plans to use current data to expand the signature and keep it up to date continuously. While the other map levels truly unfold their full potential, especially in vehicles featuring Level-2 hands-free functions and higher, they also offer advantages at lower levels.
Dr Mathias Pillin, President, Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division, Bosch, said, “We are pleased to be paving the way to tomorrow’s mobility today together with partners. The more vehicles that provide information now and in the future, the larger and more robust the database will be for automated and assisted driving.”
Vehicle Environment’s Digital Twin
VW is leading the way with the high-volume Golf 8 in Europe, with other vehicles to follow. Specifically, the solution works like this: while on the road, the vehicle fleet uses surround sensors to generate information about landmarks such as road signs, guardrails, curbs, and lane markings. Then, the vehicles send the data completely anonymously via the VW cloud to the Bosch cloud. In addition, only the information that is required for the map layers is transmitted. Finally, the road signature is created in the Bosch cloud on this basis, producing a kind of digital twin of the real environment.
With Bosch road signature, vehicles can determine their position with a high degree of accuracy: in real-time, each vehicle compares the information currently provided by its surround sensors with that of its digital twin. This comparison enables the cars to accurately determine their position in the lane down to a few decimeters relative to the highly accurate map. Furthermore, with radar, localisation works reliably even in adverse weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow – conditions that make it difficult, if not impossible, for a camera to perceive its surroundings.
Natural Driving Behavior
The road signature enables safer and more convenient lateral and longitudinal guidance of automated vehicles. It is because of possessing information, not only about landmarks, but also about road geometry, lane layout, road signs, and speed limits. It even includes typical driving behavior at specific locations like, for instance, how do human drivers approach a curve, when do they step on the brakes before an intersection, what do they do when they change lanes before making a turn.
The service uses motion data such as speed, steering angle, and wheel speed to answer such questions. In the future, the road signature will provide vehicles with this information – and thus help make automated driving an experience that is as natural, comfortable, and safe as possible. Bosch and VW are moving closer to this goal with every kilometre driven.